Purge

For a long time I have been a “collector”, from basketball cards when I was a kid, to music and film on basically every kind of media you can imagine. I took pride In my collection and some weird way it gave me a sense of accomplishment. During this month we have been getting rid of the same amount of “things” as the day in the date. Today on the 23rd of April, I have purged and am not seeing the sense in the collection anymore. The first thing that took a shellacking was the DVD pile.

In this day and age, EVERYTHING is basically available on free or paid streaming, as well as the other means that one may obtain content from the good old internets. Instead of having a wall of DVDs I have a small black box that holds thousands of hours of music, film, tv and every other thing I could ever want that sits on a shelf next to the TV. Our TV aerial hadn’t been plugged in since the end of football season last September and was only plugged in recently for the very same reason, to watch one game of football a week. We don’t watch broadcast television and therefore are not advertised to or watch any of the lobotomy style programming the major networks in Australia pass off as entertainment or news.

Looking at my DVD stack, I realised I have most of the stuff digitally now and have pulled half of them out, to never be put back again. We maybe watch an actual DVD twice a year, all they are  doing is filling the space in our TV cabinet they could be better utilized. Out with the old in with the none.

I have even offered up three of my pairs of sneakers to the cause of a less cluttered life. More on that soon.

 

BPF

 

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News from the phone bedazzling stall.

For those wondering, I have not been captured by militant consumers and chained to a phone bedazzling stall inside a cavernous shopping centre, nor has Mama Fearse hobbled me just enough for me to be able to change nappies and ignite the barbeque yet not type. I have been, in all honesty, lazy and unconcerned with writing as of late. Hopefully this post will change the tide of words to the more succinct and entertaining.

Our first buy nothing new year has had an enormous effect on me. I no longer desire sneakers, at all. I said starting 2014 I was going to purchase a new pair to replace the couple of tired pairs that I have been wearing since the late 90s. As the clock struck ’14 though, I realised these old pairs had served me so well thus far and besides being a little worn out on the insides they still serve their purpose. I really like the idea of having a pair of new kicks to strut about the court in, but I don’t need them.

Also late last year I broke the screen on my laptop. I looked into having it repaired and found it would be cheaper to replace the computer outright. I had the money to replace it, but never did. 2014 rolled around and as I type this from said broken laptop attached via HDMI to our TV, I have decided to purchase a used monitor** and connect the laptop to it essentially turning this laptop into a desktop. It showed me that really thinking through and examining all options and avenues will often lead to a more sensible emotional and financial decision. I have got used to using my laptop in this unorthodox manner and truthfully having it at school with me was more of a distraction than a convenience so I think this will work out best for me and having the computer stuck in one place will also mean I won’t be spending as much time in front of it and more time will be spent chasing Lil Fearse around the house.

So there are my newest revelations readers, I will be sure to check in with you all more often from now on.

BPF

** Post writing but prior posting I managed to acquire an old monitor from Freecycle that, with the addition of an HDMI adaptor, should do the trick.

Hot Days: An Ice Age Adventure

The middle week of January was a scorcher here in Victoria. The heat started around 35C and grew to 43C by the end of the week. The house was hot, the yard was hot, the car was hot. Everything was hot. BP does not cope well with the heat. He gets hot and bothered fast. It seems that my daughter also suffers from this infliction. She also shows the heat in her face quite alarmingly. She goes beet red and stays that way until the weather breaks. I used to think she was somehow sunburnt, but I’ve learned now that it is her body’s way of telling me how hot she is because she isn’t yet able to. (I personally love the heat, but this post isn’t about me.)

I started my preparations for the week on the weekend before – freezing fruit salad; buying frozen yoghurt (something Little Fearse had never eaten before); freezing bottles of lemon juice and water; obtaining a variety of foods that could be cooked outside on the barbie; cleaning out the wading pool, and preparing an Ice Age Adventure (inspired by this Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue).

This took a couple of days to prepare. First I had to purchase some toys, as Little Fearse didn’t have any figurines that were quite the right size or weight. I headed to the op shop hoping to find some sea creatures, but instead I found a couple of dinosaurs, a lion and a snapsnap. Uh, sorry, a crocodile.

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Paired with two heavy little Muppet toys I layered these in a large bowl of water, starting with the heaviest. I let each layer freeze for a few hours before adding a new layer and new water.

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Luckily we were passed down a chest freezer from BP’s Mum just before we had Little Fearse. Lately I’ve been really conscious of it getting a little low on supplies, which means it’s using much more power than it should be. With the addition of several bottles of icy water and this Ice Age Adventure it was running at a much more optimal level.

We waited until Friday, when the house was at its hottest, before we unveiled the adventure. We decided to do it in the bathroom where the tiles would keep us cool and used the wading pool instead of a tub. This ended up being a great idea as it turned it into a kind of swampy pool at the end, adding to the whole atmosphere of the experience.

I started off using a spray bottle of coloured water (our blue and green food dye was very dark) and two containers of pink and green salt. Next time I think I’d stick to plain water and green salt. This is what gave it the best colouring as you can see in the pictures.

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A few tips:

– Little Fearse was a little young to do this alone. She did more watching and celebrating of animal freedom than actual ice-scavating. She still loved it, but either tee up an older child or adult to help your under 2 year olds.

– Sometimes the ice could get sharp, briefly, as it melted. Not sharp enough to cut, but sharp enough to hurt. Be wary of this when supervising your child.

– Very slightly warmed water in sqeezy bottles (like the sauce and mustard bottles we ended up using, over the spray bottle we started with) are more effective and easier to manage for little hands.

– Using ‘new’ toys rather than toys your child already owns has the extra excitement that comes with new toys. Little Fearse was really excited about getting the lion and crocodile out most of all and this kept her focused and attentive. We’ll try and find a way to rotate these out in our next toy cull. We do plan to do another Ice Age Adventure and will collect a few more toys for that. It’s EASY to find this style of toy in op shops or at the market. You could work on a theme – African animals, dinosaurs, sea creatures, little dolls etc

What activities do you share with your little ones on hot days? Any tips for surviving the heat? There is still a good deal of heat left in our Australian summer yet.

Mama xo

Best of 2013.

We’re going to take a week’s break from the ‘blog as a part of our BNN conclusion celebration. In the mean time, you may like to read back over some of the most popular posts of 2013. The most popular of these is about 10 times more popular than any of our other posts, so it almost doesn’t even feel right to have 9 other posts in this list. We will be publishing a follow up to this post when Little Fearse returns to Family Daycare this year, in a week or so.

Is your favourite Fearse Family post here?

1. 30 Days of Day Care Lunches for a 12 Month Old

2. Stuff – A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance

3. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month

4. Why are we doing this?!

5. What will we NOT buy second hand?

6. The Book Embargo

7. A big ‘to-do’ about nothing

8. My 2-4-1 challenge

9. A clothes shock take. Arg!

10. Challenges we already anticipate

 

We hope you enjoy reading back over some of the high and low lights of our year.

The Fearse Family xo

 

 

What Ever Happened To Gary Cooper?

The strong silent type. In a world of instantaneous global communication, endless information and opinion, many men are still incredibly guarded about their emotions and refuse to speak on topics that ultimately are shared experiences among many. The affect that a miscarriage has on the man in the equation is one of those topics.
I’m going to resist pretty much every instinct I have as a man and speak about in one of the most public ways available to me, this blog.
Mama Fearse met me outside the beach house when I returned from playing basketball in the city the night prior. When she jumped into the car to talk to me, I immediately sensed that something was awry. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was worried, really worried and that she wanted/needed me to be strong. We talked about the bleeding and what it could mean, we agreed that if the pregnancy had ended that it was probably nature knowing best, I reassured her, I held her and I pushed the lump in my throat deep into my stomach. I constantly reassured Mama that it was going to be okay, even though I had no idea whether or not it would be.
Up until the moment that we found out that we had lost the pregnancy I was supremely confident it was going to be okay, I saw the look on the doctors face a moment before he put his hand on Mama’s shoulder to console her. I thought not of myself at that point, I didn’t think of my loss, I only thought of Mama. When she elected to have the D&C that night I marveled at her strength, in the same position I don’t think I would of been as brave. I wished and wished I could take her place, I didn’t think it was fair that on top of losing the pregnancy that she would also have to have surgery. We dropped off Lil Fearse and headed to the hospital, I read all the information and pamphlets that they thrust in our hands and although they are designed to inform and comfort the affected, I found that they made me feel much worse and I tried to hide them away from Mama, she had enough on her plate and I felt like I would be protecting her by sparing her the sad truth and statistics.
Mama went into surgery and I went home for an hour. I made phone calls to the few close friends and family that knew. I did this with a eerie calmness, the people I called expressed their sadness, but I didn’t, I waxed philosophical and comforted them, even though I was the one that needed comfort. I paced and paced in the backyard, I drank a glass of whisky and smoked the remnants of a broken cigarette that was in my office, it didn’t help. I felt sick. I felt helpless. Before I knew it I was on my way back to the hospital to Mama who was back in her room lucid and calm. We watched TV and asked when we could leave. we both wanted to get home, back to the safety and comfort that the Fearse Cave affords us.
I poured myself generous glass after generous glass of whisky, I hadn’t been drinking since Mama had fallen pregnant, but given the circumstance I jumped headlong back into an age old practice, swallow your grief and try and drown it in liquor. I don’t drink alcohol in front of Lil Fearse as to set an example for her and not to normalise alcohol consumption even on a semi regular basis.
My father was a heavy drinker and in hindsight seeing that normalised in my childhood led to years of me doing the same and thinking nothing of it. The arrival of Lil Fearse changed that for me though. My father was a man of very, very few words, in a way this gave what he did say more impact when he would open up, but those occasions were quite rare. My father died from a heart attack when he was 45, I was 15. The heart attack that killed him was his fourth and was surely not helped by his reluctance to live a more healthy lifestyle. I am incredibly proud of the man my father was and miss him every day, I feel cheated that I do not have him around to talk about fatherhood. The man that I am today is by and large a result of what I observed in the 15 years I got to spend with him upon this mortal coil. Talking about Dad, however, is probably best saved for another time.
There was a thick fog of sadness enveloping our home. Mama and I didn’t want to leave the bed or the couch for at least a week solid. Lil Fearse kept us smiling and ultimately grateful that we had her in our lives. In the sadness of this situation she was the gleaming beacon of joy that kept us moving, kept us talking and didn’t allow us to collapse into deeper depression. I talked with Mama Fearse daily about how she felt, constantly reassured her that there was nothing that she had done that had caused this loss to happen. We mourned the dream that could of been. We grieved for that dark shadow with a heartbeat we has seen weeks earlier. I overheard the conversations and support that came in for Mama from her friends and family. The revelations that friends of ours had gone through the same thing,
I received no phone calls, I had maybe one conversation that was any longer or of any more substance than “That sucks, bro…..So how about them Yankees?” with other men. No one wanted to talk about it, no one wanted to admit it had happened to them and no one wanted to tell me about their emotions or ask about mine. The idea that men are emotionally bulletproof is a falsehood, I felt angry, guilty, depressed, inferior and had waves of self pity. The emotion that was most overwhelming of all though was the feeling of helplessness. I couldn’t change what had happened, I couldn’t fix it or make it better, I couldn’t take my wife’s place and at times I couldn’t begin to understand the physical toll it had taken on her body.
Don’t get me wrong here people, I am in no way here preaching about how hard it is to be a man. I just wanted to shed some light on what a man goes through in the situation in the hope that someone somewhere who is going through the same thing read this and knows that it’s okay to own the way you feel about your families miscarriage, you might be the third person in the conversation when it comes to pregnancy and parenting but that’s okay too. You aren’t alone, chances are one out of three of your friends have experienced this, they understand, even if they wont bloody say so..
Keep Your Head Up Fellas.
BIg Poppa Fearse.